Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has extolled Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for his contribution to the economic development of the country.
He mentioned specifically the Asantehene’s input in Ghana’s exit from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, at the time the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was hesitant to help.
The former President made the remark when he received the Otumfuo commemorative gold coin at his residence in Accra on Monday, January 7, 2022.
Explaining how Otumfuo facilitated Ghana’s exit from the HIPC initiative, the former President said his administration did so well to attain the completion point of the programme but just before the country could exit the programme, the board of the IMF, which was meeting in Washington, USA, decided that the government had not observed the conditionality of not increasing wages and salaries so they were going to take the country out of the programme, which could have come with some grave consequences.
Coincidently, he said, the Asantehene was in Washington on the invitation of the then President of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn.
“So I sent a message through the Juabenhene [Nana Otuo Siriboe II] now the Chairman of the Council of State who was travelling to the USA to join the Asantehene on the trip, to get the Otumfuo informed of the development. Nana Juabenhene stepped out of my office and phoned Otumfuo who immediately called me and we had a conversation and I pleaded with him to get Mr Wolfensohn to talk to the IMF on the assurance that we will correct the anomaly, and Otumfuo did it; saving the country from being taken out of the programme,” former President Kufuor stated.
President Kufuor, who endorsed the commemorative gold coin project, said it was appropriate and a great moment for the Asantehene to be honoured.
The former President remarked that when the Dagbon disturbances broke out in 2002, he as President at the time, set up the Wuaku Commission to go into the criminal aspect of the unfortunate incident.
“But I realised that the problem had deep-seated traditional roots, and therefore, I decided that apart from the criminal aspect, the traditional aspect should also be tackled using our traditional leaders,” he said.
Consequently, President Kufuor said he made an appeal to three traditional rulers of high repute – Asantehene, Nayiri and Yagbonwura – to help which they readily accepted leading to the realization of the peace process during the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo.
The former President also used the opportunity to praise the E ON 3 Group and its partners for coming out with the gold coin project.
“I believe it is correct and timely and I’m happy it was done by a good collection of private institutions. The good thing is that the Bank of Ghana has put its seal on it. This gold coin, 99.99 percent, is something I haven’t heard of anywhere. So this is pure gold and it shows the effort and perseverance Otumfuo and his fellow ancient monarchs, fathers of the nation, made in restoring peace to Dagbon, which is a very important part of the country.”
Briefing the former President, the General Manager of the E ON 3 Group, Mr Jesse Agyepong, said it was significant that the Dagbon peace process started during his [President Kufuor’s] time, travelling through his predecessors and ending with President Akufo-Addo.
He further told Mr Kufuor that the gold coin is a life-long project which is intended to be part of Ghana’s culture and heritage.
He announced that after the road map for presenting the gold coin to selected leaders, “we will go to the public in April 2022.”
The delegation from the E ON 3 Group, and its partners that were at the residence of President Kufuor was led by the Executive Chairman of E ON 3 Group, Mr Richard Adjei Mensah Ofori Atta.
The other members were Mr Paul Asimenu, Legal Advisor of Gold Coast Refinery, and Mrs Yvonne Antonio, Head of Retail Banking for Access Bank. Festus Ofosu-Yeboah, Business Head, Adjiringanor Branch for Access Bank and Seth Sorgah, Head of Sales and Distribution Coronation Insurance were also present.